“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For by the standard you judge you will be judged, and the measure you use will be the measure you receive. Why do you see the speck in your brother’s eye, but fail to see the beam of wood in your own? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye,’ while there is a beam in your own? You hypocrite! First remove the beam from your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” —Matthew 7:1–5
In our verses for today, Jesus warns against the hypocritical judging of another. Jesus continually preached against a pious attitude that tears others down rather than seeks to help build them up. We are to strictly scrutinize ourselves and our own actions (which should keep us quite busy!), and not judge our brothers and sisters. The traits we often dislike in others are so often the habits we dislike in ourselves. Our unbridled and untamed passions and habits are the very ones we seem to want to change in those around us.
The Bible teaches us to think rightly and to live rightly which enables us to live a life of value to ourselves and to others. When we judge others, God states He will use on us the same measurement of judgment we have used. Scripture says that we are called to counsel and reprove one another, but we are not to judge. This requires a proper attitude of humility and love, always seeking what is best for the one we counsel. We are to deal with others the same way the Lord Jesus has dealt with us—full of mercy and love! Those struggling often need our encouragement and not our criticism. Is our goal to build up or tear someone to shreds?
“Have mercy on those who waver; save others by snatching them out of the fire; have mercy on others, coupled with a fear of God, hating even the clothes stained by the flesh.” —Jude 22–23
God is the only One who is able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart. We are not to be uncharitable or unmerciful, having a spirit of revenge, hypocrisy, pride, or harm. Duplicity is detestable to God and He hates hypocrisy. Anytime we are severe on the faults of others while indulging in like behavior, we are nothing more than hypocrites. We must remember Scripture tells us that mercy always triumphs over judgment:
“Speak and act as those who will be judged by a law that gives freedom. For judgment is merciless for the one who has shown no mercy. But mercy triumphs over judgment. What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but does not have works? Can this kind of faith save him?” —James 2:12–14
“The pearl of justice is found in the heart of mercy.” —Catherine of Siena
“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” —Jesus (Luke 6:36)
“Nothing graces the Christian soul as much as mercy.” —Ambrose